What Causes Hypoglycemia?

diabetes

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  • There is no specific reason for why hypoglycemia happens in both healthy and diabetic individuals, but there are several triggers
  • In order to properly pinpoint your condition, you should evaluate whether you’ve done drastic lifestyle changes that may be interfering with your blood sugar

There is no specific cause as to why hypoglycemia happens in both healthy and diabetic individuals, but there are several triggers. For most individuals, you get less than optimal blood sugar levels when you choose to skip meals or cut down on your food intake without easing into it.1 In order to properly pinpoint your condition, you should evaluate whether you’ve done drastic lifestyle changes that may be interfering with your blood sugar.

Can My Diabetes Medication Cause Hypoglycemia?

Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, insulin medications may become a constant part of your life. In most cases, they may help you lead a more normal life, without the constant fear of diabetes complications. However, these medications can also cause hypoglycemia if you are unable to maintain optimal glucose levels in your blood. Some of these medications are:

Sulfonylureas and meglitinides: These drugs work by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin. In most cases, sulfonylureas cause hypoglycemia when a patient accidentally overdoses, skips a meal, or if they have just been discharged from the hospital.2

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors: This type of drug functions by lowering blood glucose levels. It slows down the metabolism of carbohydrates, partially inhibiting glucose absorption in the gut. Some examples of these drugs are Acarbose and Miglitol.3

If you observe some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia after taking your diabetes medications, consult your doctor immediately in case your dosage needs to be adjusted or you need to change your diet.

What Are the Causes of Nondiabetic Hypoglycemia?

While hypoglycemia in nondiabetic patients is rare, it can happen. There are many possible causes as to why blood sugar lowers abnormally in otherwise healthy people, including an inconsistent diet, too much exercise, or taking medications that can interfere with glucose absorption. There are also some underlying conditions that may cause hypoglycemia, which include:

Anorexia. People suffering from anorexia may experience hypoglycemia as a complication. Anorexia is a life-threatening psychological condition that causes the person to have an intense fear of gaining weight. In some cases, people may be manifesting their pain, stress and anxiety through restricted energy intake.4

Alcoholism. Alcohol directly affects the liver's ability to release glucose into the bloodstream, inhibiting the body from getting enough blood sugar to even out the steady production of insulin. The risk of hypoglycemia is heightened if you're on insulin medication.5

Renal failure. The kidneys play an essential part in regulating glucose through gluconeogenesis, or the production of glucose from amino acids. In addition to the inability of the kidneys to produce glucose, renal dysfunction also causes prolonged insulin circulation in the blood, further lowering the amount of sugar in the body.6

Insulinoma. This is a tumor in the pancreas that causes increased insulin production. Women have a higher risk of developing insulinomas compared to men. In some cases, tumors in the liver can also cause hypoglycemia by releasing insulin-like factors.7

MORE ABOUT HYPOGLYCEMIA

Hypoglycemia: Introduction

What Is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia Symptoms

Hypoglycemia Causes

Hypoglycemia Types

Hypoglycemia Treatment

Hypoglycemia Prevention

Hypoglycemia Diet

Hypoglycemia FAQ

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